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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Currently {v.32}


THE DEAL: 
Use the weekly themes or use your own - just share what you're "currently" up to! 
Visit the other bloggers that are linking up @ Harvesting Kale and Ot & Et and say hello!

This week's themes:
VISITING, WORKING, CREATING, LOVING, MISSING
~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jaimee is...

CURRENTLY visiting... with the neighbors, as the posse in our cul de sac rides bikes and scooters together after school.  So nice to see the sun coming back so we can get some fresh air!  Living in a cul de sac is awesome - it's like having your own personal racetrack at the ready.  Round and round they go, chasing and giggling, and I get to see and chat with another grown-up for a spell.  Win-win.

CURRENTLY working... OUT.  With Jillian Michaels.  Yep.  I finally kicked myself in the duff and joined up with Jen from Four Mars and One Venus.  Love that girl!  She has motivated a whole facebook page of women to get their shred on, together.  It's not too late if YOU want in - just visit Jen on facebook and tell her you're ready to shred!  She'll send you the invite to the shred group.


CURRENTLY creating... um...do I dare admit this?  Nothing.  Zip.  Zilch.  Nada.  Been a dry spell here folks, a result of the funk that has been dragging me down.  That's one of the reasons I started working out - to kick that crap to the curb so I can find my focus and motivation again.  

CURRENTLY loving... these super CUTE little Star Wars peeps that I found on etsy.  They kill me!  I bought the graphic files to start working on Little Man's upcoming birthday party.  He is o-b-s-e-s-s-e-d with Star Wars.  I could have gone with the old school movie, or with the new school cartoon clone wars...or with Lego star wars, but I lucked out in that I convinced him to use these A-dorable little images instead.  So fun!

CURRENTLY missing... my creative mojo.  My routine.  My productivity.  I've been trudging through knee-deep mud here, trying to get out of this funk.  Good grief.  It may be corny to say this, but, I miss....ME!

~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tiffany is...

CURRENTLY visiting... no one.  though I really want to.  I'm dying to see my sister again.  It's been too long.  And I want to see my home, Oregon again.  It may be rainy and dreary, but it will always be home. 

CURRENTLY working... on getting myself more prepared.  I am tired of doing things last minute (keep in mind I am writing these at 11:00 Wednesday night) so I am trying to get things prepared a month early. That may require me to actually trick myself into thinking it really is the month I am preparing for because I tend to work a lot harder with a tight deadline.  But it stresses me out and if I am to cleanse myself of this kind of stuff, I need to think ahead.

CURRENTLY creating... a type of fun jar for my husband.  He's been feeling neglected lately and rightly so, so I have been collecting nice things to do for him to remind him that even though we have kids, he is still my one and only. 

CURRENTLY loving... this new FREE app I heard about.  It is super cute.  It's called Couple available for iPhone and droid.  It logs you and your significant other into a private program.  It's password protected so you can write messages without little eyes seeing.  you can also make lists (like groceries) that can be viewed by both of you and if you are terrible at directions like I am, you can so him your location on the map and he can tell you where you need to go.  And my favorite, you can do a thumbprint kiss.  You press your thumb against the screen and keep it there until he does the same.  The phone indicates when you have kissed him back!  How cute is that especially for husbands that have to travel a lot (hint, hint, Jaimee!) 


CURRENTLY missing... my motivation.  Here's the thing about me. I work hard and I work nonstop.  I am not tooting my own horn here.  The thing is, I know that when I finally get around to stopping, it's very hard for me to start again.  This happened on Monday.  Instead of doing my chore list, job list, craft list, and all the other lists I have, I decided to take a day off.  It was time.  So I read some of my book, got caught up on TV, and spent a good portion of the day creating all the Duplo sets we own with my 3 year old.  It was wonderful.  Just what I needed.  But come Tuesday I couldn't get myself to do anything.  I went to my list and slowly fuddled my way through it.  I got distracted and preoccupied and never actually finished anything on it.  And that's kind of the slump I've been in all week.  So I am trying to focus more on March, but it's not getting much of February done!  Curse laziness and it's addictive qualities!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

NEXT WEEK'S THEMES: 
EATING, DRINKING, LISTENING, READING, THINKING

Sharing @
HK

Friday, February 22, 2013

Pokemon Party: Food (with printables)

We are at the final installment of the Pokemon How-tos!  Food!  Here I will share some of my favorite party recipes and tell you how I made some of my super cheap food trays!  Oh yeah, and there are some more printables for you too!

Cupcakes

What's a party without cupcakes, right?  Usually, I will decorate my cupcakes with the theme of the party.  But this time, Jaimee made some cupcake toppers for me which was so much easier!  It let me go crazy on some of the other stuff!  But I will share with you one of my favorite cupcake recipes.  It can be easily modified to your taste or party, and they always come out super moist and yummy!

This recipe comes from The Cake Mix Doctor who is a pro at turning a cake mix into a fun, gourmet dessert.  If you don't own one of her many books, you should!

Ingredients
1 package cake mix (whatever kind works with your party)
1 1/2 cups yogurt (your cupcake will take on the flavor and color of your yogurt so pick a flavor that suits your theme)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large egg whites

For the Pokemon party, I used white cake mix and vanilla yogurt.  I just wanted them to be white.  I've used fruit flavored yogurt before and it is delish! 

Heat oven to 350.  Mix all the ingredients together at low speed for 30 seconds.  Scrape down the sides then mix at medium for 2 minutes.  Using an 1/4 cup ice cream scoop,  fill a lined cupcake tin with batter.  Bake for 17-20 minutes or until cupcake bounces bake when lightly pressed.  

Easy and delicious!

For the frosting I tried a new recipe that I am pretty sure will be my go to recipe from now on!  I love the idea of homemade frosting, but I don't like the taste of the butter creams made with a bunch of powdered sugar.  I actually prefer a store bought cream cheese frosting to that.  But then I found this Easy Marshmallow Frosting by Lil Luna.  It was perfect!  Super easy and really tasty!

Just beat 1 cup room temp butter and 1 cup powdered sugar until fluffy.  Add a 7oz jar of marshmallow fluff and 1 tsp vanilla and mix until creamy! you can add food coloring if you want to change the color.

After the cupcakes were made, I just printed off Jaimee's printables and taped a toothpick to the back.  Easy Peasy!  And so clean looking!

Pokeball Candy Tray

I'm patting myself on the back for this one.  It was so easy and turned out perfect!  And it only cost me $1!  Which in my case is a totally win!

You will need
red chip tray from the dollar store
black electric tape
white bandaging tape

When I saw the dip tray at the dollar store, I knew instantly I wanted to make it into a Pokeball!  I briefly considered painting it but then figured it wouldn't be food safe then.  That's when I came up with the idea of using tape!

You don't need to cover the entire thing, just line the top.  The rest will be full of candy so you won't see the bottom!

Using the black electrical tape, cover the middle line.  Use short pieces to go around the middle circle.  Trim and excess areas.

Then, using the white tape.  Cover the tops of the bottom lines and around the bottom half of the circle. If you use thin tape, you might need to do two layers.

Fill tray with white and red candies and you are done!  Just a hint, the swedish fish were a HUGE hit!

Pokeball Oreo Balls

I love oreo balls!  Especially at parties!  I love the idea of cake balls and the cute things you can do with them, but it doesn't make much sense to me to make cake balls when you already have cupcakes.  So oreo balls are the obvious answer!

They are super easy.  Take an entire bag of oreos and grind them into a very fine dust.  Food processor works great for this!  Mix the crumbs with a pack of softened cream cheese.  Roll in balls and dip in chocolate!  Very easy and come out great!

To make Pokeballs, I first dipped them in melted white chocolate.  You can use Wilton's chocolates for this, but if you want cheap, high quality melting chocolate, go to WinCo.  Their bulk section has the best chocolate for cake balls!  

Use a fork to drop the ball into the chocolate, roll it around until it's covered and scoop it out.  Give the fork a couple taps on the side of the bowl and slide the ball off onto wax paper.  Let harden.

Once hard, melt Wilton's red melting chocolates.  I used those here because I tried to mix red food coloring in with the WinCo chocolates and it was disastrous.  Break off any chocolate that spread from the ball.  Using your fingers, dip the ball halfway into the chocolate.  Set on wax paper.  

Melt dark chocolate in a ziplock bag in 20 second intervals.  Clip the corner of the bag.  Carefully draw a line across the middle of the ball.

Now, this part I didn't do because I made these up until the last minute and couldn't get the to harden in time for me to finish the button on the Pokeball.  But if I had the time, I would use the ziplock to make a black circle and then the whit chocolate to make the white.  But it worked out fine the way they were!

Candy Tray

I made this quick, easy candy tray for just $3.  So I thought I would share it with you!  

I kind of did it backwards, so I will share the right way to do it with you!

All you need are two candle holders and a set of burner covers.  I bought it all from the dollar store.  Some e6000 helps too.

First thing, glue the candle sticks to the top side of the burners.  You want the top side because the bottom is where you are putting your food.  You don't need to paint it because it's already white!

Once the glue is dry, paint the trays.  Paint all surfaces except the part that is already white.  Do a couple coats and paint a layer or varnish on it to keep from chipping!

So there you have it!  One Pokemon birthday party!  Hope you have enjoyed it all!  I know I have!  Now I have to wait all the way until June to do my next birthday party.


Want to see the whole party?

And here are the cupcake toppers I promised you!



5 for Friday ~ St. Patrck's Day Wreaths

Valentine's Day has passed, and now we're squeezing St. Patrick's Day in before an early Easter.
Here are 5 fabulous wreaths to inspire your inner leprechaun!

1) {Lucky} Rainbow Wreath
What a FUN wreath project!  A rainbow of felt, some ribbon, and foam shamrocks & letters.  Fab!

2) Wreath with Fabric Shamrocks
I love the fresh and soft look of this one - and those fabric shamrocks are lovely!
She made a banner with some, too.  Go see!

3) Interchangeable Yarn Wreath
with Felt Shamrocks
Besides the brilliant aspect that this wreath has interchangeable accents - you must go
check out her post and see the handmade details on those felt shamrocks!  Embroidery, beads & sequins!

4) Yarn Pom St. Patrick's Wreath
Yarn poms for every season!  So simple to make - just add a few plant pics from Dollar Tree and you're set!

5) Rainbow Yarn Wreath
How cute is this?!  I love the little pot o' gold and shamrocks on the bottom.

Bonus
Grapevine & Fabric Flower 
St. Patrick's Day Wreath
This was a fun project, especially using cupcake toppers printed really small 
as "button" centers on some of the flowers!  I still get this one out for the door!

I'd love to do a rainbow wreath - So cheerful and fun!

Fun Jar Friday #37: Carrots on a Stick

Today on Fun Jar Friday~
Carrots on a Stick


I don't know about you, but I am done with winter.  And it's snowing again here today.  I am ready for going outside, playgrounds, riding bikes, and gardening!  It makes it very hard to get my head around Easter.  And Easter is in March this year which makes it even harder.

So I am bringing you a spring and Easter inspired Fun Jar that you can do inside while it snows outside.  Hopefully it will get some of you in the mood for Spring too!

This is a really fun cookie recipe to do with kids.  They will love making these little dirt covered carrots with you.  It was inspired by this adorable version brought to you by The Cutest Blog on the Block.  I love her version in little personal cups!

I used my very favorite sugar cookie recipe from Itsy Bitsy Paper Blog that keeps its shape and doesn't spread all over the pan.  Only I cut it in quarters because the recipe makes close to a million cookies!

What you need
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
1/4 c butter at room temperature
1/2 c sugar
1 egg
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/4 cup + 2T sour cream
orange food coloring
lollipop sticks
green ribbon
oreo cookies
chocolate chips

Follow the directions for the cookie recipe at Itsy Bitsy Paper Blog only add some drops of food coloring when you add the sour cream and vanilla.  It only takes a couple drops.  The dough will need to chill for at least 2 hours.

After the dough has chilled, heat oven to 425.  Cut flattened dough into 5-6 inch strips.  And then cut the strips into wedges about a 1 inch on the small end and 3 inches on the wide end.  My kids went a little crazy on the flour here.  You do not need this much flour but it doesn't hurt either!

Place the stick along one edge of the wedge and roll up the dough around the stick.

Press the seam and it will look like a little carrot on a stick!

Repeat with the rest of the wedges and place on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper,
  seam side down.

With a knife, score the carrots so they really look like carrots.

Place them in the oven for 5-7 minutes.  You want them set, but not browning.

When they have cooled, tie a little piece of green ribbon onto the stick and your carrot is complete!

I liked the idea from The Cutest Blog on the Block to have them in "dirt" but I wanted the dirt to stick so this is what I came up with.

I removed the whites from a number of oreos (your kids will love eating these) and crushed up the oreos to a fine crumbly dirt.  You can use a food processor for this, but oreos are so soft, I usually just use my fingers with oreos in a ziplock.  Pour the crumbs onto a plate.

Fill a ziplock bag with chocolate chips and melt in 20 second intervals until completely smooth.  Cut a small slit on the corner of the ziplock and drizzle all over the cookie crumbs.


Immediately place the cookies onto the dirt. Sprinkle a few crumbs on the top for added effect and you are done!  When your kids pick a cookie up, the oreo stays with it!  Yum!  

And who doesn't like food on a stick?




Sharing @
Lasso the MoonFor the Kids Friday
SixSistersStuff.com

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pokemon Party: Games Part 2 (with printables)

Okay, now for the final two activities of the party!  We took these downstairs in the basement because they required a little more room!

Step 3: Teach Your Pokemon Moves

This one was very last minute.  I knew I wanted to do some sort of obstacle course involving Pokemon moves, but I didn't really decide everything until about an hour before the party.
Hence the undecorated activities.

I made stations around the room.  Earlier, I had decided what moves we were going to learn.  I looked through my son's Pokemon Bible to find moves that would translate into a kid friendly task.  I was also very short on space.  My basement playroom is good sized, but when you put 12 kids in it, it gets very small.  So my tasks had to take up a small area.

These were the moves
Acrobatics
Stomp
Focus Punch
Rock Throw
Steam Roller

Jaimee put together some signs to hang up at each station.  I separated the kids into small groups for each station and had them rotate through until they had done them all because I was getting short on time.  There was so much more I wanted to do with this activity but it did what it needed to do.

Acrobatics

For this station, I placed a bouncy ball and had them bounce on it from one side of the room to another. I really wanted them to do summersaults,  but my husband informed me that with that many kids in the room, summersaults might pose a hazard.  A balance beam of some sort would have been a good idea as well but I couldn't think of what to use for one at the last minute.

Stomp

For this activity, I blew up a bunch of ziplock bags and told the kids to pop one with their foot.  With more time, I would have had them do 2 or 3.

Focus Punch

This was probably might least effective one.  I placed several balloons around and had them punch the balloons into the toy box.  If I were to do this again, I would have them start at an area a ways from the toy box.  As it was, they ended up getting real close to the toy box and volley ball punching it into the box.  So it wasn't much of a challenge.  But again, we were short on time so it was okay.

Rock Throw

I had a circus party when my youngest turned two so I ended up bringing out the bean bag toss for this one.  I wanted to decorate it more Pokemon-like, but it didn't happen.  Other ideas are to have them throw something into a bucket or small container.

Steam Roller

For the last task, I used a cardboard box on a raised incline.  At the end I placed a small bowl and had them roll the ball down the incline into the bowl.  This was harder than it looks!  You have to be careful not to make the incline to thin or too thick or it's even more of a challenge.


Step 4: Test Your Pokemon in Battle

For this activity, I wanted them to somehow use their moves in a battle.  Enter the Pinata! I could have had them just beat the pinata, but again we had a small area and it wasn't really incorporating the moves.  So I came up with my own type of pinata.  A pull string one that had you preform a move before you pulled the string.  Then when you pulled it, it was a test to see if that move defeated the enemy.

So first I had to decide what pinata to use.  The only ones available were Pikachu and a Pokeball.  It didn't make much sense to have them fighting either of those.  I decided Meowth was the best character for the job.  But that meant I had to make my own pinata.

This turned out to be so much easier, cheaper and better than I could have imagined!  I don't think I'll ever buy a pinata again.  This one cost me all of $2.  Two packs of tissue paper was the only thing I purchased.

Here's what you need
large cardboard box
box cutter
duct tape
tissue paper or crepe paper in white, yellow and black
elmer's glue
ribbon
paper
twine or string
hole punch
clear tape
glue gun

So first off, cut the cardboard box into pieces.  Basically, separate the sides so that you have four large flat pieces and the top and bottom pieces. I drew the shape of a cat onto one of the large flat side pieces.  I provided you with a template.  Just tape the pieces together and trace onto the cardboard.  I find a sharpie works best.

Then I placed the piece that was on the opposite side of the box underneath the cat drawing and cut both out together.  I had to sit on the pieces while I cut to make sure they stayed together but this allowed the pieces to be the exact same.

Now you have two cat pieces.  Cut the rest of the box pieces in strips 4 inches wide.  

Now we get to build our body.  Meowth is very curvy, so put lots of folds along your cardboard strips to allow for a smooth curve.  

Duct tape the strip along the outside of the body.  I used packing tape at first but decided duct tape would be a more secure hold.


When you reach the end of a strip.  Place a new strip at the end and tape them together at all meeting points.  

Continue on until there are strips around the entire body.

Place a small piece of cardboard on the top of the pinata on the inside.  This is to give the twine more security so it won't rip through after you fill the pinata.  Use a phillips screwdriver to poke two holes in the top.  String your twine through the holes.  You want to do this before you put the body on or it will be much more difficult.

Now you are ready to close up the pinata body.  Place the other body piece on the top and tape it on.  You might want to line the entire pinata one more time with tape for extra security.


Your Meowth body is done!  Now you need to color it!

You can use either crepe paper or tissue paper for this part.  Crepe paper is quicker, but tissue paper works just as well.  If you doing a lot of colors on your pinata, it might be helpful to draw where the colors stop on your pinata.  Our pinata is mostly one color except for the ears, so I didn't mark it.

Meowth is cream colored, but I couldn't find either crepe paper or tissue paper in cream so I got creative.  I ended up layering white on yellow to make a cream color.  It actually worked quite well!

So here is what you do.   If you are using crepe paper, cut a long strip. If you are layering, place the white on top of the yellow.  Fold it up a few times gently and then cut slits half way into the paper.  Cut several along the paper. 

For tissue paper, if you are layering colors, unfold the two papers and place white on yellow.  Fold the paper back up.  If you aren't layering, keep the paper folded.  Cut the folded paper into two inch strips.  Cut slits half way up all along the strip.

Starting at the bottom front of the pinata.  Elmer's is the fastest and easiest for this. I usually don't like using elmer's because it's messy, but I highly suggest it here.  Make a line about an inch up and place the yellow strip.

Make a line on top of the yellow and place the white directly on it.  If you aren't layering, you may or may not want to use two layers.  It depends on how thin it looks.

Trim your paper to the shape of the body.

Make another line of glue about an inch up and place the next strips of paper so that it overlaps the bottom strip half way.

Continue up the pinata in this fashion until you reach the ears. 

Once you reach the ears, keep going up the pinata only trim the paper to the ears so that when you are done, you have the entire front covered except the ears.


To do the ears, do the same strip cutting process but this time with black.  Place the strips at an angle starting at the bottom of the ear and work your way up.

Do the same exact thing with the back side.

Now you need to cover the sides.  I divided the sides into two parts.  One part being the bottom and right side.  The other part was the top and left side.  

Start on the bottom and face it toward you so that the right side is on the top.  Use the same exact gluing method and go up the bottom and continue up the right side.  Go right over the top of the flap.  When you reach the ears, simply change colors.

Then flip the pinata so that the left side is facing you and the top is at the top.  Continue covering the left side all the way up the top, working around the twine.  And your pinata is covered!

Now to give Meowth a face!  I made up some printables for you.  Just print them out on card stock and cut them out on the outside of the black line.  

Hot glue the face pieces and tail piece onto the pinata.  For the arms and legs, fold at the flap and use clear tape to stick them on.  You may need to use several pieces.

See how cute he is!

Now you want to make a flap for your pinata.  I did this way early in the game but I should have done it now.  On the bottom, cut a large flap.  mine was about 5x3 inches.  You want to be able to fill the pinata, but you don't want it falling open because of the weight on the candy.  You also don't want to cut all the way to the edge.

If you want a beat em up pinata.  Then fill the pinanta and tape it tightly closed. You are done.  But if you move ahead I will tell you how to make it and any pinata into a pull string pinata.

All you have to do is poke several holes into the flap.  I wanted to make sure the winning string wasn't pulled right away, so I made 30 holes for 12 kids.  

After you do that, push one ribbon into one of the middle holes and tie a knot so that it can't be pulled through.

Then push more ribbons into the rest of the holes but don't tie any knots.  That;s all there is to it.  Once you have filled your pinata, close the flap and tape it down with clear tape.  When the child pulls a string that isn't tied, it slides right out.  If they pull the tied string, they will yank it to get it out and open the pinata!  Candy falls out of the hole!

But the pinata isn't done yet.  Remember I wanted to incorporate the moves into it?  Well, I simply printed off the words several times and cut them into strips.  I punched a hole with a hole punch and tied them to the end of the strings.  Now the kids could pick a string, perform the move on the string and give it a pull to see if it was the winning move!  

And there you go!  All the games we played at the party!  Coming up we have the food for you!


Want to see the whole party?

And of course I have lots of printables for you to enjoy!



 






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